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Cavendish not looking for a "fairytale" ending

Manx rider returns to Deceuninck Quick-Step for 2021 season

Mark Cavendish has declared himself a "realist" and says he isn't expecting "fairytales" after returning to the Deceuninck Quick-Step team for the 2021 season.

Throughout his career, sprinter Cavendish has won 30 Tour de France stages, second only to Belgian legend Eddy Merckx who has won 34 - a record Cavendish had hoped to conquer.

He enjoyed three successful seasons with Quick-Step from 2013 but says he's realistic when it comes to recapturing those heights.

"I'm not looking to hang on to something or finish my career in any fairytale way" the Manx cyclist said, adding "I just know that I'm still good."

The Manxman says he regrets leaving the team in 2016 when he swapped to Team Dimension Data but struggled to replicate the form that made him such a threat in sprint finishes.

"The best part of my career was at this team," he said. "I tried something else, but with hindsight I wish I'd have stayed here my whole career."

Though winning world titles for Britain on the track and the road, in recent years, Cavendish's ambitions have been halted by two seasons hindered by injury and illness after he contracted the Epstein-Barr virus and also wrestled with depression.

His last World Tour race success was in Dubai in 2018.

The Manx rider has admitted, "If I thought I wanted to go and race and win six stages of the Tour de France again [as he did in 2009], I'm in fairytale land."

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